What Are Some Interesting Tundra Wolf Facts?

The tundra wolf is the largest subspecies of the gray wolf, known as Canis lupus albus, achieving a length of up to 7 feet and a weight of nearly 200 pounds when fully grown. Occupying the far northern tundra of Eurasia, from Finland to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, the tundra wolf is at the top of the food chain and is challenged only by bears and humans.

Each Arctic continent and island carries a subspecies of the gray wolf, and each is known by a different name according to its location. In Greenland and the Arctic islands, for example, it is called the arctic wolf. Genetic testing shows that these wolves, though each given a different subspecies name, are not all genetically different enough to warrant so many different names. The naming scheme remains a topic of debate for taxonomists.

In North America, the tundra wolf is either extinct or extremely endangered, although many subspecies used to live in the Arctic range from Alaska eastward across the various islands and mainland of Canada. Across Russia, tundra wolves are actively hunted, with substantial bounties offered for their pelts, but the species is not considered endangered. Tundra wolves can be any color, ranging from black mottled with gray, white or a gray-and-white mixture.